Jennifer Palmer has read crime fiction since her teenage years & enjoys reviewing within the many sub-genres that now exist; as a historian who lectures on real life historical mysteries she particularly appreciates historical cime fiction.
Paul Mulchrone is a Dubliner. He lives a simple life, but after a bequest from a relative, and his accidental involvement with a dying hospital patient, he suddenly becomes a target for a killer.
Paul is apparently hapless but he manages, despite his lack of defensive skills, to escape some very professional attacks on him. Brigit, a crime fiction fan and nurse, finds herself embroiled in Paul's travels around Dublin and also becomes a target. Paul had had a difficult childhood during which Bunny McGarry, an alcoholic and violent policeman featured. Bunny continues his involvement with Paul, despite Paul's reluctance, by working to find out who has ordered the killing of Paul and why. The methods Bunny uses are uniformly violent and usually successful.
The saga of Paul's adventures is told in a wry, colourful style. Sharp phrases give the reader a clear picture - Paul has, through strange circumstances, to go into a public swimming pool despite the "rapidly degrading structural integrity of the pair of bargain underpants" that he is wearing in lieu of swimming trunks. A twenty-year-old female character is described as having breasts that were so impossibly pert that "they reminded Paul of intensely interested meerkats" and he describes the unfortunate clipping of the lions on a gatepost by Brigit, whose driving is not impressive as "In the lion's defence it was made entirely of stone and could only bear a minimum of responsibility for the collision."
Paul's journeys around Dublin and outside it involve him in meetings with many strange individuals as he tries to find out the truth of an old crime which is, in some way linked with his present predicament. His relationships with Brigit, Bunny and others are complex and fascinating as they develop in surprising directions.
This blackly comic crime novel set in Ireland is a real page turner.